The right reason to ban the flag

The Big Day Out are discouraging people from taking Australian flags to the festival because they're worried about boneheads draping themselves in the flag. A better reason would be because our flag is crap and includes, prominently, the flag of another country. It's about time we got a better one.

Perhaps we could also get rid of our cringe-worthy national anthem (who the fuck says "girt"?) and replace it with a much more appropriate song about a sheep-shagging itinerant thief.

While we're at it, might I suggest the Romanov Solution? Oh I'm going to Gitmo for that!

Actually I can get digital?!?!?

Now this is kinda weird. When I was up the ladder moving around the aerial for digital television, I was trying to tune in the UHF frequencies of the Kings Cross transmitter. This is sensible because I only bought a UHF aerial, whereas Gore Hill transmits on VHF.

Tonight I got home and thought I'd do a bit of playing around with czap and the like. Scanning with that I found I could tune in, using mplayer, all the digital channels. Weird! So I tried scanning with MythTV again, to get the same results I had on Wednesday. When I imported czap's output into MythTV, however, I found I could tune the full complement of channels!

So looking at the frequencies, my humble UHF antenna is actually tuning in the VHF transmissions from Gore Hill! I guess the only explanation could be that the huge power they're outputting is enough to reach here.

That's excellent news as I was starting to despair of getting digital TV at all. Now to run the rest of the cable, drill the holes in the floor and get the Myth box going!

A reason for software development sucking?

Last night while talking to Raz I recommended he work for my former employer in London. The reason I'd recommend working for them is that they seem to have got the critical balance between rigid process and operational flexibility in software development about right. We hit every deadline and included all the features we promised more or less as specified, every release. That's really refreshing in the software business!

It got me thinking about why this isn't more common. The thing is, it's not getting the development process brings the biggest (business) rewards. My employer before that (name left as an exercise to the reader) was the direct opposite, running about as seat-of-the-pants as is possible to imagine. They're at least as successful, possibly more so at this point, and yet they pushed out daily releases that broke, crashed, looked like shit and had the worst imaginable user interface.

Given that getting the process right doesn't guarantee Bubble Goo rewards. So as a PHB, why would you bother to make the process perfect? The only advantage is happier employees, and what PHB gives a rat's arse about that?

LCA open day

I went along to the linux.conf.au open day last night and had a great time. Lots of really cool projects, particularly the OLPC (heavier than I expected), RepRap (homemade fab) and the very cool open source Segway. Really good stuff and I think they've got a good mix of slick corporate-style things and the handmade feel.

Was great to catch up with a bunch of people. Met Kim and Janet from Adelaide at last. Caught up with Dean. Also ran into Raz, who's apparently been living in the UK for the last five years, and Craige.

I really wish I could've been there for the whole conference. Maybe next year.

Aerial problems

Last night I got up a ladder to install my shiny new TV aerial that was expected to get us all the digital channels. Problem is, we only ended up getting the ABC and SBS digital channels. This is odd because all of the channels are on the same location so I'd expect that if we can get one, we'd get them all.

I used high quality quad-shielded RG6 coax, an antenna appropriate for the coverage area (UHF) and spent a fair amount of time pointing and checking. Still no joy. Analogue reception is improved over the rabbit ears, though not perfect and still with quite a bit of ghosting.

The only thing I can think is that topography is against us. We're in a bit of a hollow so, while I was up the ladder, I couldn't get direct line-of-sight to either Kings Cross or Gore Hill. There are buildings and trees in the way. I think this is the reason for the problems, though can't explain how we get two channels and not the others.

This has sent me back to the drawing board on my MythTV plans somewhat. I'll have to record the commercial channels from analogue, though I'll use the digital tuner for ABC and SBS. Graeme suggests trying a different tuner, so I might pop into Dick Smith who accept returns.

Any other suggestions? Obviously more height would help. I couldn't reach the top of the mast with the ladder I have, so that might help. A professional installer would be the usual recommendation but I can't justify $200-500 on a rental property!

Real broadband at last

Internode just upgraded me to ADSL2+ with Annex M. It's very nice!

On the best line profile, I get 10463800 kbps down and 2039400 kbps up. This is using the "MAX24-HS-M" line profile. Internode allows you to change profiles in case you're getting dropouts and the like due to line conditions.

So I now have a broadband connection that can probably max out the wireless hop to my laptop. Excellent!

Killed by a popunder ad

I'm compiling a list of resources for customers of a major ISP. The kind of thing that will be displayed when they use the bundled CD to install their internet connection.

Anyway for the reference section, I needed something more than just Wikipedia (though I don't need anything more myself!) so I thought I'd put in the Encyclopedia Britanica. Then I noticed Firefox telling me it had blocked a popup from that site. Helpfully called "popunderAd". Well guess what Britannica, I won't be sending anyone your way with that kinda behaviour!

Hearing booked

I've booked a hearing at the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal, regarding our dodgy real estate agent's non-payment of our bond. I did this last week and just now got a call from their "Property Manager". She tells me they have submitted the bond, though she can't tell me when they did this. Given that this is the third time we've been told it's been submitted, I'm not considering it likely.

The "Property Manager" seemed surprise to hear that the bond must be submitted within seven days, subject to a $2200 fine. Good to see the standards in real estate agents' knowledge of the law are improving all the time!